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EE 3092

Laboratory Practice V

Thyristor Switch Application

Instructed by: Mr. Supun

Index No.
Date of Performance
Date of Submission


S.P.M Sudasinghe
G - 12

Name: S.P.M Sudasinghe
Index No: 100523G
Group: G 12
Date: 2013/07/24
Instructed by: Mr. Supun

a) DC switch opening and closing by means of a push button

CH1: Anode to cathode voltage of SR3 following a press of S4

CH2: Gate voltage of SR4 following a press of S4

c) AC switch opening and closing by means of a miniature switch

Voltage waveform across R5 and R6

Voltage across lamp

d) AC switch opening and closing with light

e) Mechanical switch opening and closing with mechanical relay

CH1: Voltage of coil RL1 following a press of S4

CH2: Voltage of lamp following a press of S4

Part a) Lamp current =

Part b) Potentiometer dial at witch lamp turn off =


Part a)

Time taken from pressing SR4 to stopping of SR3 = 1.6 ms (from graph a-1)

Part c)

Resistance of R5 & R6 = 100

Peak voltage across R5 & R6 = 0.7 V
Gate current of each thyristor =

Part d)

A = 7 mA

peak voltage across R5 & R6 = 140V

Peak gate current =

Part e)



A = 1.4 A

Switch on time = 10 ms (from graph e-1 & e-2)

1. Advantages of using a Thyristor switch in place of a mechanical switch

Thyristor provide reliable and smooth operation compared to mechanical switches because
they are semiconductor devices without any moving parts with it.

Thyristor switches are able to handle higher switching frequencies than mechanical switches.

Normally Thyristor can handle frequency level up to few kilohertz. But mechanical switch
cannot operate in higher frequencies due to their rough moving parts.
Switching time of a thyristor switch is much less than that of mechanical switch.
Thyristors consume very low power compared to mechanical switch. Mechanical switches

(Mechanical relay switches) consume more power to energize the coils and also higher heat
generations occur due to internal resistance of the coil.
In mechanical switch there can be arc generated between the two poles of the switch during

switching. But in thyristor switch no arc is occurred as there is smooth operation. So in

mechanical switches special protection is required to prevent the damages from arcing. But
such protection is not required in thyristor switches.
Mechanical switches are bulky and thyristor switches are compact
The operating behaviour of thyristor can easily be determined by means of manufactures

data sheets, but normal mechanical switches do not have characteristics that can be used to
obtain transfer functions of the device.
Interferences to other networks are much less in thyristor switches than mechanical switches
Maintenance cost of a thyristor is less when compared to a mechanical switch. A switch often
requires rust removing and lubricating.

2. Applications which thyristor switch is preferred over a mechanical switch

Thyristor switches are used in single and three phase inverter applications and typical

mechanical switches are not satisfactory enough for this purpose due its inability in handling
higher frequencies with required speeds.
Induction motor drives ( speed controlling, braking and starting control) use thyristor

switches because its ability to convert DC to AC / AC to DC and controllability of power by

changing the firing angle.
Stepper motor control circuits are built using thyristors where high precision movements are

Electronic ballasts for fluorescent lamps use thyristors instead of normal inductive coils (in

Thyristors are used as lighting dimmers in televisions and motion pictures.
In HVDC (high voltage dc transmission) thyristors are being used where a large amount of
power is to be transmitted over a long distance from a remote generating plant to the load
3. Operation of DC and AC switch

DC switch:
DC switch means a thyristor is used to control the DC current. To turn on the thyristor gate pulse is
applied to the gate terminal. But we cant stop the conduction (switch off the thyristor) by simply
applying a negative gate voltage. We have to reduce the current through thyristor below holding
current and apply negative voltage across thyristor until it gets turn off. This is done by connecting

negatively charged capacitor across thyristor. While selecting a capacitance of the capacitor we have
to make sure that the discharging time is greater than the turn off time of thyristor.

AC Switch:
We used two parallel thyristors which connect in opposite directions. One will conduct the positive
half cycle and other will conduct next half cycle when first one is in reversed bias condition. This
operation doesnt require commutative circuit. Two zener diodes are used to give gate voltage. In the
positive half cycle one zener diode is activated and gives gate signal to particular thyristor and it will
starts conducting and when negative half cycle is reached above thyristor is in reversed biased
condition and second zener diode is in conducting region and it will give gate signal to second
thyristor to activate. So both negative and positive halves of the signal is conducted.

4. Speed of operation of mechanical switch compared to DC switch

From our observations it shows that switching time for thyristor switching is 1.6 ms and switching
time for mechanical switch is about 10 ms. Hence Thyristor switches are faster than mechanical
switches. Mechanical switches (magnetic relays) take some time to magnetise and operate the
switch. But thyristor switches operate faster than mechanical switches. Hence they can be used for
higher switching frequencies.

5. Use of overcurrent opening to protect power electronic circuit

When a current goes above some value, the voltage proportional to that current can be obtained using
potentiometer and using two zener diodes this voltage can be used to fire a thyristor as shown in
above circuit. When current goes above some value then the thyristor fires and switch off another
thyristor. This configuration detects the overcurrent and stop the conduction very fast.
This overcurrent protection is essential for power electronic circuits because most of the equipments
that are being employed in power electronic circuits are very sensitive and expensive and overcurrent
condition in the circuit could damage some of the sensitive and expensive parts of the circuit within
few milliseconds. Hence speedy recovery should be ensured in order to provide the proper protection
to the particular circuit. But mechanical overcurrent protections are very slow and this slowness can
damage to the power electronic devices. Hence it is essential to use overcurrent opening using
thyristors for power electronics circuits.

6. Advantages of light triggering in practical circuits

Power saving can be achieved as no gate pulse is used to trigger and reduces the noise
In fibre optic communication which is widely used today, using light triggering switches in
controlling purposes are very efficient and accurate than converting those signals to
electrical means.
In HVDC applications direct light triggering is used very occasionally due to development

in laser diodes and it helps to improve system accuracy and reduced response time over
traditional methods.
Light triggering methods are free from the interferences of harmonics, voltage and
frequency changers in the system.